Our apologies that it has been a while since our last FWW Dioramas conservation posting - it's been a big year!!
Along with continued cleaning and repairs, some of the tasks and activities we've been spending our time on this year are moulding and casting missing weapons, repairing broken weapons and re-joining the previously cut pieces of diorama bases requiring filling and inpainting. The Semakh diorama has been returned to display in the galleries after decades in storage, and the Desert Patrol diorama introduced. We hope to explain each of these in future blog posts when time allows!
A sneak peak at Somme Winter behind the new display façade in the gallery
Part 2 - Reinforcement and Movement
As mentioned previously, the dioramas consist of a number of sections of base framework, some of which are bolted together, some of which are not. Well-hidden behind the display cases, facades and the diorama surface, few still sat on their original leg castors, while many had been trimmed and placed on fascinating, decades-old systems of levelling the individual sections.
While Kasi has been working away at those pesky crates, I’ve been tasked with adhering the flaking paint on the painted backdrops. In conservation we call this process ‘consolidation’. While the backdrops of the large dioramas are all in pretty good shape, the two small diorama series (‘Transportation of Supplies’ and ‘Evacuation of the wounded’, each comprising 9 scenes) have not been so lucky. On some of these small scenes (painted by artist Louis McCubbin) the bonding between the paint film and the curved plaster domes has failed in certain areas, and over time this has
As more building works continue in the Western Front Gallery, the Diorama Conservation Team has moved into the Sinai Palestine Gallery, to take on the treatment of the beautiful Transportation of Supplies series of dioramas. Although much smaller than most of what we have been tackling so far, these nine scenes present their own set of challenges.
Before beginning conservation treatment on any item in our National Collection (whether it is an artwork, uniform or tank...) the first step is to inspect and document its condition. We look at how the item is made, what materials are used, what state it is in and whether there are any damaged or unstable/fragile areas or components. We can then safely handle/move the item and determine what conservation treatment is required.
Welcome to the first of our First World War diorama conservation blog posts! Throughout the redevelopment of the FWW galleries we hope to give you an insight into what goes on not just behind, but also over and under the scenes!
The framework under Mont St Quentin